June 20, 2006

CATRI 24 in Holyhead

After the Round the Island Race I towed TARDIS up to Holyhead where she is now ready for demonstrations for those interested in buying a CATRI.

TARDIS on her Brenderup trailer at Holyhead

She is on her trailer on the hard, folded up and ready to go.

It is worth noting that storing a CATRI 24 like this is very cheap. At Holyhead it is only 10 per week. So for a month it is only 40. A month on a marina berth would be 210. For a saving of 170 I think it is worth the small inconvenience of launching and unfolding before each sail and then refolding before retrieval from the water. Also the boat is not going to get fouled and is less susceptible to damage in high winds.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 02:54 PM

June 04, 2006

Single handed folding and retrieval

My crew is departed and I have the mast down which is a major obstacle to trailing overcome already. Now all I have to do is fold TARDIS, the CATRI 24 from Latvia, and get her across from the pontoon to the trailer when the tide comes in at 1800. So all day to plan how to do that on my own, a valuable exercise.

TARDIS folded at Cowes the day after the Round the Island Race

Folding was easy. I just had to think about the order of ceremonies. I used ropes to hold one side up on the pontoon whist I folded the other side because without the mast shroud tensioning system to hold up the floats it was going to be difficult otherwise to remove the plates holding the akas down.

Using the winches to fold the boat made the job really easy.

And I used the winches to help in the folding process. This worked really well.

You can se the rope leading to the trailer from the pontoon that was to act as guide for the TARDIS's short journey.

Next I took the longest rope I had and made it even longer in order to bridge the gap from the boat to the trailer. I knew that using the engine to try to drive onto the trailer in any sort of cross wind or tidal flow would be a nightmare. Ropes were the answer.

Inevitably somebody in a rib ran over it and stopped just in time. Luckily they neither cut the rope nor got their prop caught and were able to extract themselves.

TARDIS settled on her trailer

Eventually as the river Medina reached its highest point and the clouds gathered for the inevitable change in the weather I managed to settle TARDIS onto her trailer. By 20.30 I was on the ferry to Southampton and by 2300 I was at my twin sister's near Marlborough. Tomorrow I have to drive all the way to Holyhead.

Posted by Stephen Walker at 11:26 PM

June 03, 2006

Round the Island Snooze

Talk about a long day. Up at 5am and there is a little wind off Cowes in the windiest place in the race. We hang back off the start for safety as none of us has ever done this race before but the density of boats on the line is nothing like what friends have predicted so we are unnecessarily last to start in the multihull section.

We are able to reach down the first leg to Hurst but we are not setting the world alight as the tide is with us and the foils only start to make a significant difference when we reach 7-8 knots through the water. We manage a maximum of 10.5 knots with the tide. This shows how little wind there is now. But there is worse to come.

Approaching the Needles

Round the needles and straight into the first wind shadow, which we just manage to sneak out of by gybing and heading further out to sea.

Skipper relaxes as the big monohulls catch us up

A fair broad reach down to St Catherine's Point then it goes somewhat quieter and big monohulls are passing us slowly. It is difficult to maintain 5 knots. I send a text message a to Aldis asking why we are slow in these conditions. His response was to invent a CATRI 27 Extreme.

France 2 crossing our bow

France 2, the Americas Cup Yacht sails past, gracefully but slowly nevertheless, somewhere off Shanklin. We have had the company of a Dragonfly 1200 since Hurst and we try gybing downwind to see if we can go faster than she does running dead downwind. But when we get to Bembridge ledge she is ahead of us. Here the fleet is parked up and we have our first experience of going backwards.

Eventually we creep through close in shore and tack as close to Ryde sands as the forward looking sonar will allow us but we are surrounded by boats of all sizes now and feeling distinctly slow. This was a day for the engine. Oh for a good wind.

Only 735 boats out of the 1587 starters got round before the 22.00 deadline and TARDIS was one of them if a little tardy. Small consolation. This was not the day to show off the high speed capabilities of the CATRI concept. However, it was a nice day in good company.

Finishing at about a quarter to six we had not much daylight left to de-rig the boat ready for trailing. We did manage to take the daggerboards out, get the sails off, flaked and nicely packed away and then get the mast down - all in three hours, which is pretty good going, and I made it to the Cowes Combined Clubs in time to declare before 22.00.

Tim's comment afterwards, "She handles like a dinghy and is more sensitive than others I have looked at."

Posted by Stephen Walker at 10:56 PM